Read a chapter excerpt at the bottom of this post.
From the author whose international bestseller, Mudbound, so hauntingly re-created America’s past comes a stunning creation of America in the near future, where faith, love, and sexuality have fallen prey to politics.
Hannah Payne’s life has been devoted to church and family, but after her arrest, she awakens to a nightmare: she is lying on a table in a bare room, covered only by a paper gown, and cameras are broadcasting her every move to millions at home, for home observing new Chromes—criminals whose skin color has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime—is a new and sinister form of entertainment. Hannah is a Red; her crime is murder. The victim, says the state of Texas, was her unborn child, and Hannah is determined to protect the identity of the father—a public figure with whom she’s shared a fierce and forbidden love.
When She Woke is a stunning story about a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of a not-too-distant future, where the line between church and state has been eradicated and convicted felons are released back into the population after being “chromed.” In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a path of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she has held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes the personal.
Praise for When She Woke
“Chillingly credible… Holds its own alongside the dark inventions of Margaret Atwood and Ray Bradbury.” – The New York Times Book Review
“As compulsively readable as it is thought-provoking.” – The Denver Post
“An utterly engrossing story, driven by a heroine as layered and magnetic as Hester Prynne herself, and reminiscent, too, of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Absolutely a must-read.” – Booklist, starred review
“[A] provocative, politically charged novel… Equally chilling and riveting.” - Family Circle
“Jordan’s take on the hot-button issues of our time – separation of church and state, abortion, an imperfect criminal justice system – is compelling.” – San Antonio Express-News
“[A] chilling futuristic novel.” – O: The Oprah Magazine
“Book clubs will devour it.” – Library Journal
“An inventive tale about a new America that has lost its way… A tense, energetic and lively paced story about self-discovery adn reclamation in the wake of enormous shame. It is a story about the price of love.” – Minneapolis Star Tribune
Chosen as a “Best Book of 2011″ by The Huffington Post, Paste magazine, The Kansas City Star, BookPage, and Booklist.
Praise from Booksellers
“I can’t wait to put When She Woke into everybody’s hands. Bravo to Hilary Jordan. “ —Roberta Rubin, The Bookstall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka, IL
“When She Woke is a masterpiece . . . It is powerful, compelling, sensitive, and poignant. I read it in one sitting.” —Bill Cusumano, Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor, MI
“Be prepared to lose sleep over the too-close-to-reality aspects of this beautifully written novel. Hillary Jordan’s When She Woke delves and connects and exposes in profound ways.” —Dana Brigham, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA
“A novel that will inspire a provocative discussion among readers.” —Michele Filgate, McNally Jackson Books, New York, NY
“When She Woke is a page turner. Just as Jordan so beautifully wrote about the injustice and tragedies of racism in America in her last novel, Mudbound, she now artfully exposes the injustices and heartbreak caused by religious extremism that, as she demonstrates in When She Woke, can arise from any rigid doctrine, even in heartland America.” —Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO
“Wow! What a read! When She Woke has everything good and delicious that one wants in a book: great characters, steady plotting, and a thought-provoking, heart-wrenching, compelling, and unsettling story.” —Melinda Powers, Capitola Book Café, Capitola, CA
“I’m gobsmacked! When She Woke is riveting from page one.” —Emily Crowe, The Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA
“There’s no doubt that When She Woke is an intense book!” —Jenn Northington, Word, Brooklyn, NY
“Put this one on your book club list, because everyone is going to want to discuss it.” —Valerie Koehler, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX
“When She Woke reads like a really good movie. It’s a transformational, awakening story disguised as a fast-paced thriller.” —Debra Linn, Books & Books, Bal Harbour, FL
“I found myself telling everyone I met about When She Woke—the story is that compelling.” —Christie Olson Day, Gallery Bookshop, Mendocino, CA
“Hillary Jordan is one of our most important political writers, and When She Woke is a very brave work.” —Lucy Kogler, Talking Leaves Books, Buffalo, NY
Read an excerpt below.
Hillary Jordan’s first novel, Mudbound, was the winner of the 2006 Bellwether Prize for fiction and an Alex Award from the American Library Association. It was named the NAIBA Fiction Book of the Year and one of the Top Ten Debut Novels of the Decade by Paste magazine. Jordan grew up in Dallas, Texas, and Muskogee, Oklahoma. She lives in New York City.